A pioneering medical project linking experts from Northumberland with surgeons in Africa has won a national award.
A tele-mentoring link was set up by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to enable surgeons to train their counterparts in the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania.
The scheme has been used to teach laparoscopic, keyhole, techniques, allowing the surgeons to see each other throughout the operation.
After two years of training, the Tanzanian surgeons were able to perform laparoscopic operations on their own, and between 2005 and 2013 more than 500 such procedures were successfully completed, substantially reducing the time patients need to stay in hospital.
Now the project has been honoured nationally after winning the British Medical Journal Award for Surgical Team of the Year.
Northumbria Consultant Surgeon Liam Horgan said: “Setting up a tele-mentoring link was a real triumph for the whole team. We had to overcome a series of obstacles associated with infrastructure and technology in Tanzania, and therefore we are delighted that our hard work has been recognised with this national award.”
The scheme has been such a success that the same technology has been used to set up a link between the KCMC operating theatre and an adjoining college to train medical students.